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Using Technology to Develop Oral Communication Skills

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Technology is a game changer in terms of the way we communicate. This lesson will discuss the many ways that technology can be used to develop oral communication skills. We will end with a brief quiz to see what you have learned.

What Is Oral Communication?

Have you ever had that nightmare where someone is chasing you, and you try to scream but no sound comes out? Being unable to express ourselves creates an uncomfortable feeling, because we rely on oral communication to connect with others. Oral communication is the use of language to convey ideas, thoughts, feelings and information.

Think of your most recent conversation. Were you speaking with a friend, an employer, or maybe even a stranger? What was said? Why were you having that conversation?

Perhaps if the conversation was with a friend or loved one, you were sharing news of the day or your feelings about something. If the conversation was with an employer or teacher, the content and purpose was probably very different, wasn't it?

Most of us tend to be more relaxed and informal in our communications with friends, and more formal, or rigid and controlled, when speaking in professional and academic settings. Regardless of the type of oral communication, the ability to use it effectively is essential.

Now that we understand what oral communication is, let's take a closer look at the ways that technology can be used to develop these skills.

Using Technology to Develop Oral Communication Skills

Smart phones, computers, and the internet have vastly changed the ways we interact with one another. Many educators are concerned that oral communication skills will decline as students rely more heavily on technology, and less on the spoken word.

This need not be the case! Technology can be a powerful way of developing oral communication skills in students, when used thoughtfully and appropriately. Let's examine several great options.

Podcasts

Podcasts provide information on countless topics in audio-only format. Using podcasts to develop oral communication skills is twofold. Students must learn to listen effectively if they hope to become good communicators. Therefore, podcasts can be used to improve listening skills. Furthermore, students can learn to create podcasts to share information with others.

One major appeal of podcasts is the audio-only format. This reduces the fear of public speaking for many students, because they can record their voice for later playback. Practicing public speaking with podcasts is an effective means of developing oral communication.

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